Cumin seeds

Although the small cumin seed looks rather unassuming, its nutty peppery flavor packs a punch when it comes to adding a nutty and peppery flavor to chili and other Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes as well playing an important role in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine where it is a key component of curry powder. Both whole and ground cumin are available year-round.

Cumin seeds resemble caraway seeds, being oblong in shape, longitudinally ridged, and yellow-brown in color. This is not surprising as both cumin and caraway, as well as parsley and dill, belong to the same plant family (Umbelliferae).

Nutritional Profile

Cumin seeds are an excellent of iron, a very good source of manganese, and a good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin B1.

Health Benefits

Cumin is extremely good for digestion and related problems. The very aroma of cumin, which comes from an aromatic organic compound called Cuminaldehyde, the main component of its essential oil, activates our salivary glands in our mouth, which facilitates the primary digestion of food. Cumin is also Carminative, which means that it relieves from you from gas troubles and thereby improves digestion and appetite. Due to its essential oils, magnesium and sodium content, cumin promotes digestion and also gives relief for stomach-aches when taken with hot water.

Cumin seeds are not a commonly allergenic food and are not known to contain measurable amounts of oxalates or purines.

How to Select and Store

Just like with other dried spices, try to select organically grown dried cumin since this will give you more assurance that it has not been irradiated.

Related: 20 Healthiest Spices on Earth

Cumin seeds and cumin powder should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place. Ground cumin will keep for about six months, while the whole seeds will stay fresh for about one year.


Cumin is native to Egypt and has been cultivated in the Middle East, India, China and Mediterranean countries for millennia. Throughout history, cumin has played an important role as a food and medicine and has been a cultural symbol with varied attributes. In ancient Egypt, cumin was not only used as a culinary spice, it was also an ingredient used to mummify pharaohs. Today, cumin is experiencing renewed recognition owing to new found appreciation of its culinary and therapeutic properties.

Nutrition Chart

Cumin seeds | 2 tsp | 4.20 g | Calories: 16

Vitamin K0.23 mcg0
Vitamin C0.32 mg0
Vitamin A2.67 mcg 0
Vitamin E 0.14 mg2
Vitamin B10.03 mg3
Vitamin B20.01 mg 1
Vitamin B30.19 mg1
Vitamin B60.02 mg 1
Omega-30.01 g 0
Omega-60.13 g0
Folate0.42 mcg0
Iron2.79 mg16
Copper0.04 mg4
Potassium75.10 mg 2
Selenium0.22 mcg0
Sodium7.06 mg1
Choline1.04 mg0
Calcium39.10 mg4
Magnesium15.37 mg4
Zinc0.20 mg 2
Phosphorus20.96 mg3
Manganese0.14 mg7
Protein0.75 g2
Carbohydrates1.86 g1

Percent Daily Values (%DV) are for adults or children aged 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

Preparing and Cooking Cumin

To bring out the fullness of their aroma and flavor, lightly roast whole cumin seeds before using them in a recipe.

Related: 8 Ways Yoga Promotes and Stimulates Weight Loss

The combination of cumin, black pepper and honey is considered to be an aphrodisiac in certain middle Eastern countries. Whether or not this potion will actually inspire Cupid’s arrows, it is certainly a tasty combination that can be used to flavor vegetables, chicken and fish dishes.

The Healthiest Way of Cooking With Cumin read: Recipes.